It’s not often that you would put the NBA (brash, modern) in the same bracket as the RFU (staid, old-fashioned). But last night’s result in the NBA finals, where Lebron failed to extend the series (and subsequently opened himself up to a night - and more to come no doubt - of suffering and abuse), has a few lessons for the leaders over at Twickenham HQ.
Both Lebron and the RFU have had a pretty awful past 2 weeks - with Lebron’s failure to turn his much publicized defection from the Cavs into a championship ring, and the RFU seemingly doing all they can to generate poor PR over their hunt for new staff. But it does not end there........
The travails (at least those played out in the media) of the RFU as they ‘re-organize’ have generated a huge amount of bad press, and not presented anyone associated with the process in a good light. It is as though MC Escher had been charged with the recruitment.
The press seem to believe that the architect (willingly or otherwise) behind the shenanigans is Sir Clive Woodward - who led England to it’s finest moment on the world stage, and who seemingly the RFU ‘just want’.
We have now seen played out in the media (and hence for all supporters / sponsors to see) -
- a new CEO come and go in less than a year
- same CEO given carte blanche to make sweeping changes to both the organization and the huge number of individuals who contribute to it (leaving a nasty taste to be dealt with)
- an employee downgraded then co-opted onto a committee (few of them about eh!) to select someone for the role that downgraded his position (#confused)
- a job description changed once / sorry twice as the preferred candidate seemingly flexed his muscles
- potentially viable candidates pull out because of rumors that the process was a ‘fit-up’
- preferred candidate rule himself out of ever working for the RFU, then be rumored to be really interested in the role
- this all for a chap who was removed from post by the same organization not too long ago!!!
It does not look good!! Now I have no inside knowledge of the process, and no contact with any of the individuals concerned, so looks could very well be deceiving and everything might be grand. But the (lack of) control over the PR of the process does not give much confidence about the control over the rest of the process.
The danger here - with an organization seemingly hellbent on recruiting one individual - is how this gets back to the NBA (Phew!!). Lebron’s story last summer (and ever since) was about how one individual was so important (or not) to his new organization, how one individual left one franchise (the Cavs) because it could not deliver his needs - and arrived at another, as the white knight who would deliver them to salvation.
Where the story differs of course is that Miami had a fair number of talented players already, have folk working behind the scenes who are well regarded industry wide, and at no stage did they make it ‘all about Lebron’.
However - the success of the Mavs, who have built a ‘real team’ that has stuck together, that has worked hard - without a ‘new Messiah’ (they had their own already within the camp) - whilst great to see - is also a timely reminder that the team is bigger than the individual.
Sir Clive may well be the man to lead England to future glory, but no Club, no organization should allow one person to become what their future is about.
Dirk (and his mates) got on about their business and showed what real teamwork can do - let’s hope the RFU do the same.
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